Sunday’s Win Doesn’t Deserve Just One Game Ball, Lets Hand Out 10

Only one game ball after one of the most complete games the Raiders have played in a decade? No thanks. We’re handing out 10 game balls.

Here we go…

Honorable mention – Shalom Luani – The rookie safety didn’t show up in the box score, but his onside kick recovery gave the Raiders outstanding field position on the first play of the game. Rather than a turnover, Luani’s heads-up play led to a short field and ultimately the Raiders first score of the game. Why wasn’t Luani caught off guard by the kick? He told reporters after the game “I’m a soccer player, so I can know when you’re kicking it hard or not.”

Game ball #10 – Marquette King – Special teams was key to the Raiders success on Sunday and King’s body of work was no exception. He averaged 52.7 yards per punt and pinned the Titans inside the two yard-line in the second quarter. As a result, the Titans accomplished something that doesn’t happen very often – a 93-yard drive that didn’t end in a touchdown.

Game ball #9 – Jared Cook – The Raiders finally have a star power at tight end. Cook caught all five of his targets and was easily Carr’s most target on Sunday.

Game ball #8 – Michael Crabtree  – Did anyone notice a little extra bounch to Crabtree against the Titans? Crabtree had a couple outstanding runs after the catch and with six receptions for 83 yards, led the team in both categories.

Game ball #7 – Karl Joseph – Last year’s first-round pick made a leaping deflection on what would have been a touchdown. Joseph also led the Raiders in tackles with nine. It’s early, but Joseph looks like one of the most improved players on the Raiders defense.

Game ball #6 – Marshawn Lynch – ‘Beast Mode’ was in full effect against the Titans on Sunday. Lynch’s ability to get an extra yard on seemingly every carry makes him worth every penny the Raiders are paying him. He converted a huge 4th-and-1 at the end of the first quarter that for most running backs would have been a stop for no gain. He also did this…

Game ball #5 – Khalil Mack – Even when he’s quiet, he’s not quiet. Mack was a force against the run (as usual) and even though he didn’t record a sack, Pro Football Focus gave him the highest grade of any edge defender for the week.

Game ball #4 – Derek Carr – We’ve seen Carr play better on a few occasions, but he managed an offense that was balanced and didn’t turn the ball over. Drops were a bit of a problem (again), but the touchdown throw to Seth Roberts was a thing of beauty. For once, it was nice to watch the Raiders win a game without needing a miracle from Carr in the fourth quarter.

Game ball #3 – Ken Norton Jr. – A game ball to a coach? My list, my rules. The Raiders defense was outstanding on Sunday and Norton Jr. was back to his charismatic self on the sidelines. Whatever the power structure between John Pagano and Norton Jr., it worked against a difficult Titans offense to defend. No one in the Raiders building entered the season with more pressure than Norton Jr. He gets an ‘A’ for week one.

Game ball #2 – Todd Downing – Another coach getting an award? You bet. Downing entered the season with big shoes to fill and the 37 year-old called a masterful game against a legend in Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Oh, and wasn’t it a treat to see the Raiders attack a defense on their opening drive?

Game ball #1 – Giorgio Tavecchio – Del Rio gave Tavecchio the game ball on Sunday and the Raiders 27 year-old rookie kicker gets the top prize on this list as well. Hitting on all four of his field goal attempts, Tavecchio was surprisingly effective from distance, hitting a pair of 50-yard plus field goals. A bad day and Tavecchio might not have gotten another chance with the Raiders. Now it’s Sebastian Janikowski who is hoping for another chance.

twitter: @raidersbeat


3 thoughts on “Sunday’s Win Doesn’t Deserve Just One Game Ball, Lets Hand Out 10

  1. I agree with all the game balls given away. My team played a well rounded game without making me almost have a heart attack. The defense was our biggest concern an they stepped up an played well. To many 3rd down conversation yet second half they shut them down

  2. How can you NOT give a game ball to Amari Cooper…I know he had a lot of drops but his effort on the Touch Down was amazing!

  3. This was an especially encouraging game, since the defense fared much better than expected. Remember that the last time the Raiders went to the Super Bowl they had the #1 ranked offense but just an average defense. That’s the formula they need to get there this year, and this first game looked as though they may well have that winning combination.

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